The Way Station (Đảo Của Dân Ngụ Cư)

Feature,Narrative,

Produced in Vietnam | 2017 | 93 min

Language: Vietnamese (with English subtitles)

Sun Oct 14 at 3:40pm-5:50pm

SET 15: THE WAY STATION

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Synopsis

Synopsis by Eric Nong

Phước (Phạm Hồng Phước) is a young man who finds work at a restaurant specializing in goat meat. The restaurant, with its century-old architecture and ramshackle condition, houses secrets and burning passions behind its walls. The boss (Hoàng Phúc Nguyễn) wields a laconic dominance over his restaurant domain, which also includes his pretend wife Xiếm Hoa (Ngọc Hiệp), daughter Chu (Ngọc Thanh Tâm), and Phước’s co-workers Miên (Nhan Phúc Vinh) and Ahmed (Hoàng Nhân). Phước, during and after work, talks privately with Chu – whose access to others outside her second-story room is strictly controlled by her father. Intensifying the drama is a love triangle between Chu, Phước, and Miên that ruptures the façade of an obeisant workplace that Chu’s father is trying to establish.

An established actress in Vietnam, The Way Station is Hồng Ánh’s directorial debut. It is a deliberate film that explodes into glimpses of physical, psychological, and sexual violence as Chu’s father loses control of his employees and his family. The austere cinematography by Lý Thái Dũng and dominance of grays, blacks, or glares of electric lighting in the restaurant reflects the father’s rigidity and the separation of the living quarters. This is in stark contrast to the agitated feelings found within. Numerous shots linger over scenes, capturing an idea within the dialogue or a physical action without cuts. The use of mood lighting, combined with old Vietnamese songs, recalls Wong Kar-wai’s films – particularly Days of Being Wild (1990) and In the Mood for Love (2000).

Not suitable for younger audiences

Tóm Lược Nội Dung

Gã trai trẻ Phước (Phạm Hồng Phước) tìm được việc làm trong một quán ăn chuyên về thịt dê. Quán ăn, với kiến trúc cổ và tình trạng xập xệ, chứa đựng những bí mật gia đình, và những khao khát cháy bỏng phía sau những bức tường của nó. Ông chủ (Hoàng Phúc Nguyễn) giữ vị trí thống trị trong quán ăn, trong đó còn có Xiếm Hoa (Ngọc Hiệp) vợ ông, Chu (Ngọc Thanh Tâm) con gái ông, Miên (Nhan Phúc Vinh) người làm chung với Phước, và Ahmed (Hoàng Nhân). Trong và sau giờ làm, Phước hay trò chuyện riêng với Chu – người mà việc tiếp cận với người khác bên ngoài căn phòng trên gác của cô bị cha cô kiểm soát nghiêm ngặt. Tình yêu tay ba giữa Chu, Phước và Miên làm tăng thêm kịch tính, đồng thời làm rạn vỡ vẻ ngoài của nơi làm việc có trật tự mà ba Chu cố gắng tạo lập.

Đảo Của Dân Ngụ Cư là phim dài đầu tay của Hồng Ánh, diễn viên kỳ cựu Việt Nam. Một bộ phim chậm rãi bùng nổ với những khoảnh khắc bạo lực thân thể, tâm lý, và tình dục trong lúc ba Chu mất kiểm soát đối với người làm và gia đình. Phần hình ảnh mộc mạc do Lý Thái Dũng đảm nhận với sự thống lĩnh của màu xám, đen hay ánh đèn điện trong quán ăn phản chiếu sự cứng nhắc của người cha và sự chia rẽ các không gian sống. Điều này hoàn toàn tương phản với những cảm xúc mãnh liệt được tìm thấy trong đó. Nhiều cú máy kéo dài trong các cảnh, nắm bắt một ý tưởng trong lời thoại hay một hành động cụ thể mà không bị cắt. Việc sử dụng ánh sáng tâm trạng, kết hợp với các bài hát Việt cũ, gợi nhớ tới các bộ phim của Wong Kar-wai – đặc biệt là Days of Being Wild (1990) và In the Mood for Love (2000).

Pham Thi Hong Anh

Pham Thi Hong Anh

Director's Biography

Hong Anh is one of the most popular faces of the Vietnamese film industry for the past 20 years. She played the leading role in many films that were well acclaimed by critics: Moon at the Bottom of the Well (2008), Sleepwalking Woman (2003), Deserted Valley (2002), Sandy Lives (1999), Hai Nguyet (1998) …. She won many awards for her acting at national and international film festivals: Best Leading Actress at Dubai International Film Festival (2008), Best Supporting Actress at Asia-Pacific Film International Festival (2000), Golden Lotus Awards for Best Leading Actress at three consecutive Vietnam’s National Film Festival.
In 2013, Hong Anh made a surprise to the film industry as a producer for Blue Productions’ first film, Duong dua – The Race (2013). The film was very well received by critics. Blue Productions, where Hong Anh is the General Director of Ho Chi Minh branch, was also known as the distributor of the documentary Madam Phung’s Last Journey (2014) which got a big wave of cinemagoers. At the same time, Hong Anh always supports and encourages many young Vietnamese filmmakers, especially in short films.
The Way Station has been Hong Anh’s dream project for the past 10 years. It is her first feature film as a director. The Way Station won Best Film at Asean International Film Festival & Awards – AIFFA 2017 and Special Jury Award at Eurasia International Film Festival 2017. Hong Anh also got nominated as Best Director at Asean International Film Festival & Awards – AIFFA 2017.

Director's Statement

The over 100 years old house in a dated Eastern style, with high cracked walls, the great and gloomy depth of the house created by the lights reflected from the black wooden pillars, all these will remind you of an old prison. In that house, all the souls from different places gathered, struggled, and fought to live while searching for freedom. The house has witnessed and understood many ups and downs in the lives of the people who came past here. Having chosen an antique house as the main location for the film at a thought-provoking and unstable time in Vietnam (1995-2000), when the material value had been put on first, I want to emphasize on the loneliness and anarchy in the spiritual lives of the characters, which make them more selfish and confined in their own little individual islands. I am haunted by their solitude – the people who gathered from everywhere, strangers who encoutered in a crumbling space, stiffling, mixed with the reek of blood, the deliciousness of food, the lust for sexual desire… They revolved within that space to live, to love, to loathe, and to despair. They are isolated because of the lack of sharing, the jealousy, and the obssession to control someone’s happiness. All the surpression and frustration are completely contradictory to the simple dream of being free. My characters are often constrained themselves to the rules they create. That’s the reason why I use a lot of contrasts in many different ways. Long-takes vs. repeated, fixed wide-shots. The silence and slow rhythm vs. the agitation of their innerself. The busy surrounding vs. their innerpeace. The sound of real modern life vs. the melody of old love songs. The cold color vs. the warmth of feelings. The endless sea vs. the airless house…With my first directed film, I am highly influenced by the Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai. I like the way he tells story and creates rhythm by using old famous songs, light blue colour of the nights, and the smooth movements from the characters in his works. However, with The Way Station, I want to push those to the extreme. Growing up during the time period 1995-2000, I felt strongly about the change in values and relationships between humans at that time. At the present, the story of 20 years ago is repeating itself, to a higher level and more complex. This is the perfect time to make The Way Station come true – the project I have been working on for the past ten years.

Live Media & Blue Productions

Producer:

Vu Tuan Anh & Nguyen Thanh Ha

Writer:

Nguyen Quang Lap

Cinematographer:

Ly Thai Dung

Sound:

Franck Desmoulins

Editor:

Julie Beziau

Lead Actor/Actress:

Pham Hong Phuoc, Ngoc Thanh Tam

Supporting Actor/Actress:

Nhan Phuc Vinh, Ngoc Hiep, Hoang Phuc